I am looking at starting a group specifically for beginner runners in Richmond. It’s where I have lived for the past 4 years and I love running around the streets and parks, along the river and getting to one of the (thousands!) of coffee shops on 'The Island State'.
It has been really interesting chatting to friends and locals about this idea, hearing what they think, what they feared and what they wanted to learn as a beginner runner. These conversations have all shaped the way the group and sessions will look and feel, when we trial it in July this year.
One of the main bits of feedback I have got, is that we always seem to believe that we are going to be the worst or slowest person in the group. In fact, not just the slowest, but WAAAAAAY behind all the rest. One friend even said to me,
“I've never joined a running group before. I'm probably going to be way behind even the slowest person there”
That is a genuine fear that a lot of runners (not just beginners I might add…) have expressed to me. It is also a fear that stops so many people from exploring running as a sport. I have certainly experienced that feeling myself before joining a running group in the UK a few years ago, so I can definitely relate.
Joining a running group and exposing your running ability / inability to a bunch of people who you don’t know can be a scary experience, but one that most people ultimately find really worthwhile and rewarding. No matter how experienced of a runner you are, a group with an inclusive and motivating coach can push you beyond what you thought was possible and can lead to new conversations, opportunities and friendships.
So……If you are unsure about whether a particular running group is right for you, what are some of the questions that you can ask yourself?
- Are you enjoying it? (even if it is only secretly enjoying it…) YES/NO
- Do you feel included, supported and encouraged in this group? YES/NO
- Do you feel motivated by this group environment? YES/NO
- Are you learning and improving in this group? YES/NO
These are basic but important questions. If you are answering mostly YES to these questions, you are definitely on the right lines! Keep in mind that it might take you attending a couple of sessions with a particular group before you can truthfully answer these questions.
The great thing is that there is so much variety these days, that there is something out there for everyone. It is also easy to change groups and find the group that really is right for you at that particular moment. Just take a look on Instagram or Facebook at some of the running crews/groups/gangs/teams/squads that exist worldwide. I did this last night after my friend Leigh mentioned a run crew in London that she liked. I was genuinely amazed how much variety is out there, catering for all different runners, joggers and walkers of all different abilities, interests, shapes and sizes. It is exciting and inspiring to see all of these people connected via running.
Seeing all of this variety has made me even more excited about this project in Richmond and seeing how it develops over the coming weeks and months. I can’t wait to get started!
If you are based in Richmond or nearby and are interested in trying a new, local running group for beginners, please let me know! Don’t worry if you’ve never had a coach or never joined a running group before. Even if you are thinking that you are probably going to be way behind even the slowest person, we are in this together and aiming to help one-another improve. Just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can have a chat from there.